Dognapping On the Rise—Protect Your Pet

Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:15am

Pet theft is on the rise. The American Kennel Club, which has been tracking pet thefts since 2007, reported a 32% increase in dog thefts last year.

While some animals are snatched from their yards or during home invasions, opportunistic thieves most commonly steal dogs left in cars or tied up outside stores. In the ASPCA’s hometown of New York City, dognappings skyrocket every summer as pet parents take advantage of nice weather to combine dog-walking with errand-running.

Protect Your Pet
Avoid becoming a victim of this heartbreaking crime!

  • When running errands around town, visit pet-friendly establishments or please leave your dog at home.
  • Keep a close eye on your pet in designated off-leash areas, where he could become a target for criminals looking to make a quick buck. (Pet thieves often try to resell—or even hold for ransom—stolen dogs.)
  • Avoid leaving your pet unattended in the front yard, especially if your lawn is exposed or accessible.
  • The same rules apply for leaving your pet tied up outside a store. In addition to being vulnerable to theft and teasing, your dog might escape or get injured.
  • Microchip your pet! Microchipping can often mean the difference between temporary and permanent separation from your furry loved one.

For more important information about what to do if your pet is missing, please read our article on Finding a Lost Pet.

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I never understood why people complain about paying for a spay/neuter fee. If you plan on fixing them, then what's wrong with paying for that upfront? When I adopted my lab mix from a local shelter years ago, they made me pay 60 bucks for her and she got fixed as soon as the vet said she was ready to (there was an issue with her age because as weeks kept passing, the vet said that her teeth were still indicating the age of a puppy). We had to send the proof of the surgery to the shelter so that they wouldn't reclaim her. That's that.

If you can't pay for the spay/neuter fee, then really, you probably shouldn't have an animal.


There is no such thing as a FREE DOG or CAT! I agree with Martha, 100%! My Sophia was FREE to me (Maltese/Shih Tzu) and within 2 weeks of taking ownership of this 1 yr. old pup, I spent $220. for her spay, $50. for her groom, and $320. for shots,worming,flea meds,and antibiotics for a toncil infection and another $30 for Micro-chipping, and $17.00 to register the micro-chip . and $90. for a blood work up done on her...Oh! and did I mention $20. for liciense?
Had I recieved her as a shelter dog, it would have been MUCH cheaper, But this baby needed my help, and to find out in the end, it was me who really needed her.. I can't imagine my life without Sophia..


That's just how I feel. I have 4 shelter pets here at home, 2 cats, 2 dogs. We had another pug but she died. It adds to the expenses of a shelter rescue because you don't know the medical history and 99.9% of the time the shelter will tell you the animal is 100% healthy. We had to put the one pug down because of multiple bladder stones, we have another dog with a pinched nerve problem. It's just too expensive altoghether, and emotionally taxing to go to a shelter.

Earl Dysert

I strongly disagree with that statement! That sounds incredibly ignorant to me. Purchase one from a backyard breeder then and be part of the pet over population problem. It’s no wonder that approximately 20 million dogs get enthused each year in this country.


Shelter dogs are THE BEST FRIENDS you will ever have. All of my best buddies have come from shelters - my Aussie was 10mo. old and is now 15 & still goes for 2 & 3 mile walks every day, my Siberian Husky was 4 and died at 17, my Chesapeake Bay was 2 and died at 16, and my German Shepherd/Husky mix was 2 and died at 14. All of my cats have been strays and lived to ripe old ages. My current one is 4 and I picked her up on the side of a highway when she was about 4 mos. All animals have health problems just like people. Shelter animals are greatful to have a home have so much love to give - health care expenses cannot even compare to how much they love us!!!!

Kate C.

I agree that a lot of shelter pets have undisclosed medical issues, but as a dog trainer, I have lost count of how many dogs from pet stores and back yard breeders (that cost upwards of $1000) have emotional/behavioral issues from being locked in a cage for their first 4 months of life, and/or horrendous life-long health issues such as Lupus, IBD, hip dyslpasia, etc. The dog we got for free ended up costing us 1000s of dollars in medical costs (read: get insurance asap). I rescued a dog 2 years ago, and YES, there was a form I had to fill out to adopt my dog from the rescue group, NO, there was no home inspection, YES the fee was $250 but she was spayed, microchipped, and vaccinated, but just that alone would have cost me the same. Also, there are usually "Seniors for Seniors" low-cost or free adoptions in most areas, and similar programs for people with disabilities, but often times you have to ask.


You have expressed what I have thought, and felt, for a long time. I also am a senior and disabled and the companionship of pets is critical to my existence. I take good care of my animals and I feed them well; though I can't afford expensive medical care, I manage to have pet insurance for basics. But I will not be able to continue to have pets because I cannot afford the initial costs. I recently lost my two cats to old age, my dear dog is getting-on. When he is gone, I'll be alone. I don't expect to "replace" my old cats or my dog, but I look at the shelters and rescue organizations and cry for those who want and need a good home and for me because I can't give it to them.

Sue Munroe

I have often seen cats/kittens for adoption at local pet stores and vets offices. The cats at Petco are much less costly than adopting at a shelter.


I volunteer for a rescue organization, and we sometimes adopt out, for free, a dog that is difficult to adopt out , usually because it is older, not necessarily old. We also have had some dogs with health problems, nothing terminal, or senior dogs and we adopt them out for free and pay vet and medicine costs. These are always wonderful dogs that just need an owner.

Our group pays for dogs from the shelter, the same cost as anyone. We often pay for surgery's, setting bones, mange, parvo etc.. We do have an adoption fee, and this helps offset these medical costs. We are always running in the red. It also makes sure that the dog will go to an owner than can afford food and other necessities for the dog. We adopt the shelter dogs that will be executed by the shelter because of needed surgery's, or medical condition, which most people wont adopt from the shelter.

If you are in a financial situation where you can't afford the adoption fee but can afford to take cars of the dog, contact local gropes, there everywhere, and let them know your situation, I bet you will get a dog to love and be loved by. I had to make payments on my rescue dogs.

An even better alternative would be to volunteer to foster for a rescue group. We give you a dog to care for, we provide food, medical, beds, blankets etc. All you have to do is take care of the dog, and show it to prospective adopters. You decide who adopts your foster, and have the first option to adopt. If you cant drive, there are drivers who deliver dogs, take them to the vet, and rescue functions etc.. There are other ways to volunteer, web site work, taking photos, managing the rescue, drivers, whatever you can do there is probably some way for you to help. Most gropes work similarly.


Hi, I am saddened by all the posts on here of all the posts regarding seniors who cant afford a pet.. I feels seniors make some of the best pet owners because the time and love they have to give.. Its beneficial for the senior and the dog.. contact your local Humane Society. I believe they have programs to help seniors adopt a dog at a nominal fee and they also have very affordable vet care for fixed income and low income people... everyone deserves the love and companionship of an animal as long as you can physically still care for them...